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Walmart launches private-label clothing brand Free Assembly

MarketWatch logo MarketWatch 9/21/2020 Tonya Garcia
Walmart

Walmart Inc. had a busy Monday, announcing that it has launched a private-label clothing brand, Free Assembly, in addition to laying out its new sustainability goals.

Free Assembly was created by an in-house Walmart (WMT) design team. The team is led by Dwight Fenton, a veteran of brands like Gap Inc.’s Old Navy and Bonobos, the men’s apparel company that Walmart purchased in 2017 for $310 million.

“We designed Free Assembly to be a modern fashion essentials clothing brand,” Fenton said in a Q&A posted on the Walmart website. “We wanted to design a brand that anyone could see themselves wearing.”   

See: Walmart aims for zero emissions by 2040

The collection includes a $45 blazer, $40 organic selvage denim and a $30 parka. In total, there are 30 items for women and 25 for men, all priced between $9 and $45.

Other private-label brands in Walmart’s portfolio include Terra & Sky and EV1 by Ellen DeGeneres, a line created in partnership with the celebrity talk show host.

In addition to Bonobos, Walmart went on a shopping spree a few years ago, acquiring a number of digitally-native fashion sites, among them outdoor retailer Moosejaw and women’s apparel company ModCloth. It has since sold off or made cuts to some of those acquisitions.

In May, Walmart announced a partnership with secondhand retailer ThredUp.

The latest Walmart announcement comes on the heels of Amazon.com Inc.’s (AMZN) latest fashion launch, Luxury Stores, a platform for high-end labels that was introduced with fashion brand Oscar de la Renta.

Walmart stock is up 0.5% in Monday trading and has gained 14.4% for the year to date. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) has tumbled 6% for 2020 so far.

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